Here in BC, our people and place are under threat by careless resource extraction, climate change, and a lack of respect for our natural systems. Climate change is bringing warming waters, ocean acidification, droughts and floods, and creating havoc with our forests, fisheries, water supply, and agriculture. Meanwhile, lax or unenforced regulations governing all aspects of resource extraction and transportation are damaging our natural resources and the communities who depend on them.
The recent rupture of the tailings pond dam at the Mount Polley mine contaminated the drinking water of local communities and sent a toxic slurry into the path of over a million sockeye salmon returning to their spawning grounds. It is a serious reminder that our federal government – obligated under international treaty to protect both fish-bearing waters to which a large salmon run (shared with the USA) is returning, and the First Nations who rely on it – has failed to do so.
Instead, the federal government has gutted the Fisheries Act, forced massive layoffs and slashed budgets at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Bill C-38 included more than $160 million in cuts to environmental spending, making environmental research, protection and enforcement more difficult.
At the same time, Canadians have less access to the work done by remaining scientists due to draconian communications protocols. As an example, all research conducted by DFO is now “deemed to be confidential”, making it much more difficult for scientists to ensure that the public has access to the information it has funded.
We know that scientific data is essential for good policy-making. You can help by sending a message to the government that we need to bring back evidence-based decision-making.